“If I had known the economy was going to be this bad, I would have never decided to try and open the business this year,” Miller said, sitting in her store on Tuesday while a half-dozen shoppers wandered through the racks.
Miller began her “Going Out of Business” sale on Tuesday, but she said she decided to close about a month ago, when she examined her finances. She did not have any full-time employees working at the store. Miller had been surprised to see the market for horse products dive so deeply in the past few months because, she said, it typcally remains fairly stable.
“Usually, I figure the people who have money are still going to have money,” she said. “And, when people love their horses, they’ll feed the horse before they feed themselves.”
Miller’s financial advisers told her she could have considered moving the store further south on Division Street to increase visibility. She said she would rather focus on developing her other business, however. She only wished she had known the drawbacks to her retail location in the beginning.
“People come to the end of that pretty white porch and just turn around and go back the other way,” Miller said of the veranda spanning the front of the Archer House building a few feet south. “They think this end of the street is some kind of industrial area.”
She added that she noticed the city’s parades always end just short of her building, too.
“I tried everything I could think of to get people to see me down here,” she said. “I sent e-mails to my riders, I put up sales racks, signs—hay bales,” she added, giving a small laugh.
Miller sold a wide variety of horse-related gear and gifts. She said her most successful sales seemed to be in children’s English-style riding equipment. But, she said, it was hard to gauge what other items in the store would be popular and when. So, her experience at Equine Outfitters has helped her manage her manufacturing and wholesale business, she said, because she now understands first-hand what the dealers she sells to are up against.
Miller said one of the primary reasons her Triple L business is doing so well is she grew up watching and helping her father, who was a cobbler and avid horse rider.
“I’ve lived and breathed horses my entire life,” said Miller, who grew up in Luck, Wis. before moving to Northfield.
Triple L has customers living in all parts of the nation and in other countries including Canada, Denmark and Israel. Miller and her husband Daniel have two young daughters, Mariah and Maddy. They like to ride a quarter horse named Triple, and two miniature horses named Shadow and Bee.